Cold summer weather knocks Irish C&C's cider sales
IRISH cider maker C&C reported weak growth in the United States and sharp sales falls in Britain and Ireland on Wednesday, knocking its shares down some 9pc.
Cider sales volumes in its core British and Irish markets, where it sells under the Magners and Bulmers brands, fell 13pc and 22pc respectively in the three months to end May, C&C said in a statement.
It said unseasonably cold weather had hit sales of cider, traditionally seen as a summer drink, and warned that trading was expected to remain "difficult" for the remainder of the year in the two countries.
Sales of Woodchuck, its key brand in the United States and an important part of the company's growth strategy, grew a "lower than expected" 3pc by volume in the quarter, C&C said.
C&C last year bought U.S. firm Vermont Hard Cider, the maker of Woodchuck, to try to tap into the fast-growing U.S. market and offset weakness in its core British business.
"The performance in the U.S. is clearly disappointing," Merrion Stockbrokers analyst David Holohan said. "Management will have to ensure that it is a one quarter event."
C&C said it expected operating profit in the year to February 2014 to be in the range of €125m and €132m,, compared to an estimate of €132m, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
C&C shares were down 9.2pc.